Applicable procedures as a result of Coronavirus
Last updated: 12 May 2021
This article covers the procedures and guidelines that are applicable to our accommodation partners as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19). As the situation may continue to evolve, we may change the applicable dates and conditions of our Force Majeure (FM) policy. We’ll continue to update this article with any changes that we make, so you can refer back to it for new information.
What's in this article
How our Force Majeure (FM) policy is being applied in case of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
We declared Force Majeure (FM) – sometimes referred to as Forced Circumstances – in early 2020 in response to the rapidly evolving Coronavirus situation. The FM policy covers bookings that were made on or before 6 April 2020 – regardless of whether the planned check-in date is after 6 April – and which meet eligibility requirements. All bookings made after 6 April 2020 are not subject to our FM policy. You can see the conditions for eligibility in the next section.
We applied our FM policy because of the unprecedented effect that Coronavirus is having on travellers’ ability to fulfil their bookings. We based this on:
- Official travel advice related to Coronavirus, received from governments around the world
- Travel restrictions placed on guests who were/are in areas severely affected by Coronavirus
- Guests being unable to travel to or stay at properties located in areas that were/are severely affected
Our FM policy only applies to cancellations initiated by the guest. It covers cases where restrictions made/make it impossible or illegal for guests to travel to or stay at properties that they’ve booked, in accordance with our General Delivery Terms (GDTs). Depending on the type of property you manage and where it’s located, you’ll have a certain set of GDTs that are applicable to you. This also changes where the Force Majeure clause is located in your contract. Most partners will see it under sections 2.9 or 2.8. If you have a negotiated agreement with us, the FM clause may be listed in a different section.
For help with other procedures, such as being unable to receive reservations due to property closures, please read this section.
Eligibility conditions for FM
Our FM policy applies to bookings that were made before 6 April 2020 and that meet one of several conditions, including but not limited to the following:
- The guest has been to an area affected by Coronavirus and as a result is prevented from travelling
- The guest has been banned from entering the location they intended to travel to as a result of Coronavirus
- The guest faces suspension of on-arrival visas as a result of Coronavirus
- The booking was made at a property that closed down, either by choice or because this was required by local regulations as a result of Coronavirus
We evaluate reservations on an individual basis and identify those that are eligible for FM conditions. We’ll send you an email to let you know if your guests need to change their bookings as a result.
Handling bookings that meet FM conditions
For bookings where guests can’t complete their stay and which meet the FM conditions, the guests can request that you do one of the following:
- Find new dates for a future booking on our platform (different rates may apply)
- Issue a voucher for a future stay, with the same value as the original price paid by the guest (or a higher amount at your discretion)
- Issue a full refund of any prepayment or deposit, including fees for no-shows, booking changes or cancellations
You can follow these guidelines when refunding bookings that meet FM conditions:
Outside of FM
Cancellations with fee
If the guest cancels a booking with a fee, you’ll need to mark the guest’s credit card as invalid in the extranet in order to waive the commission fee. This can only be done before invoices are generated.
If you’ve already issued the invoice to the guest, the Mark credit card as invalid button won’t appear. In this case, you’ll need to dispute our invoice once you’ve received it.
If the guest cancels a non-refundable booking, you can charge them the normal fees.
If a guest asks to cancel a booking free of charge (without using the self-cancellation tool), you can accept the request by going to the booking in the extranet and clicking Request to cancel booking. This will trigger a free-of-charge cancellation.
If a guest asks to cancel a booking free of charge, you can accept it by going to the booking in the extranet and clicking Request to cancel booking. This will trigger a free-of-charge cancellation.
Handling property closures
If your local government requires your property to close temporarily, make sure you do the following things:
- Close your rooms on our platform for the period that your property is closed to avoid receiving new reservations that you aren’t able to honour
- Make sure you contact any guests you have scheduled to arrive during the closure to let them know they won’t be able to stay at your property
- If you choose to cancel any upcoming reservations, you can do so with no charge or a full refund to the guest – we’ll waive the cost of our services for these cancellations
- If you and your guest choose to change the reservation date instead, our Customer Service team can help you arrange this
In some cases, local governments determine that certain types of properties in an area have to be closed, or they can’t receive any guests and/or accept new reservations during a specific timeframe, and that the responsibility falls on us to arrange this on properties’ behalf. If this applies to your property, we’ll send you an email to let you know.
If your property is directly impacted by a Coronavirus case and you’re forced to close temporarily following guidance from your local authorities, you can reach out to our Customer Support team for assistance. Check out this dedicated guide for more information on keeping your property safe and hygienic.
- Contacting us: You can contact us for more information on specific areas and dates that FM conditions apply to. Use the dedicated phone number in your extranet or send us a message via your extranet inbox.
- Travel restrictions: Visit our dedicated page on travel restrictions for more information and links to government websites. Keep in mind that even if a country or area isn’t listed on this page, it may still have travel restrictions in place.
- Preparing for restricted travel demand: Because travel restrictions are still in place in many countries, we recommend that you set up your rates and availability to be as flexible as possible. You can find helpful information and resources on Partner Help, including this article on flexible Rate Plans and this article on Early Booker and Last Minute deals.
- Tax relief: This article on tax relief opportunities can help you figure out what options are available to you to help mitigate the financial impact of Coronavirus.
- Information for travellers: If you’re a traveller and you need help, you can find more specific information in our Help Centre. We recommend that you thoroughly research any locations you plan on travelling to.
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